Government Should Dialogue With Boko Haram – Gani Adams

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Otunba Gani Adams is the National Co-ordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) In Nigeria, In this interview with VICTOR SEYI, he spoke on the Boko Haram insurgency and a number of other national issues. Excerpt

What is your impression about 10th year anniversary of Arigbamu of Agbamu?
I am highly delighted because I am Baba Oba of Agbamu land and I am use to this vicinity. I have been coming to this community since 1990.
This community is well known for its many professionals like Industrialists and Theatre Practitioners. Doyin Investment is from this community, Afolayan’s family is from this community. We also have His Royal Majesty, Oba Olusola Dare, who happens to be our member before he became the Oba of this town. So, I am used to this place. It is my second home and I was lucky to be given a chieftancy title of Baba Oba of Agbamu land. So, I am rejoicing with him over his 10years anniversary.
I’m so happy and highly delighted with the large turnout of the people and personalities here today. That shows how popular His Royal Majesty is among the people. You can see the number of personalities His Royal majesty is giving the titles to today, about 45 of them. It shows that he is an Oba that maintains his good relationship and influence with his people within and outside the community. I will use this opportunity to appeal to him to continue to maintain unity and peace among his people. He does attend our festivals and I have to be here today.

What is your message to people of Agbamu?

I think the development of Agbamu is highly important. There is no other place like home. No matter how popular you are, you must make sure you contribute to the development of your community, you must make sure you contribute to the unity of the community, so that it would not reflect negatively on your personality,. If anything happens in a community, people would ask that so so person is from that community. I congratulate the entire people of Agbamu for enthroning an Oba like Oba Olusola Dare because I can see him working very hard to develop this community.

What is the solution to Boko Haram attacks?
I would advise the Federal Government to make sure they dialogue with Boko Haram. Let us learn from history. There is Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Middle East. And at the same time, Al-Shabab in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. In Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun, we have Boko Haram. In Iraq, Turkey, Syria, there is ISIS. So, learning from what is happening, the issue of terrorism, which has become a global issue, I don’t see how we can win this war against Boko Haram with military actions.
The war we are waging with them is unconventional, so it will be difficult to face them with our might or equipment. You don’t even know whom you are fighting with. They are fighting guerrilla war with us. If care is not taken and the Federal Government does not dialogue with them, they will infiltrate other regions in the country. We are still lucky that Boko Haram is only operating in one region out of six. Sometimes ago, they attacks North-West, apart from North-East. So government must act fast to make sure they dialogue with them. Asking other communities to wage war against them may not solve the problem. As Plan B, using military alone cannot win this war; they should dialogue with them.

What is your take on revocation of oil pipeline contract given to militants groups?

It is very unfortunate, we have a country that is not appreciating these youth who are useful to the government. This job was given to us on March 15, 2015 and it was for three months. In the process of giving the contract, they politicised it. Some people who didn’t like the face of former President Goodluck Jonathan because he did not give them the contract started criticising the contract. The contract terminated on June 15, 2015 after three months. Then they brought the Nigerian Army and Civil Defence to protect oil pipes. Since then, Nigeria has lost almost 300 people due to pipeline vandalism. You can see what happen in Arepo, Nigeria lost no fewer than 140 people. In Bayesal, about 35 people died. In Ijedodo Atlas-Cove and Ikorodu, I’m talking about my district, not about other six districts that was given to other people to protect. Nigeria is our country and every hand must be on desk to protect our country. It doesn’t lie on security agencies alone. If I have an information and I didn’t divulge it to law enforcement, it can’t be successful. Information is power. We are talking about the communities that these pipelines pass through and protecting them and they took it over and gave it to law enforcement agencies. Some aggrieved people are saying why can’t they give it Nigerian Army? Are you telling me that Nigerian Army were not Nigerians? Are they not in Nigeria when the contract was given to us? Are you telling me that Civil Defence were not in Nigeria when the contract was given to us?
Nigeria is losing trillions of naira every year because of oil pipeline vandalism. These illegal oil bunkerers and vandals make a lot of money from their illegal acts than the real legal oil business. I am using this opportunity to say that we are not appealing that they should give us the job, but the one we have done, let them pay us so that we can pay the people that worked for us. We borrowed N400 million to execute the contract, and I don’t know how much other five people borrowed to execute their contracts. If not because of the complication, I would have kept quiet. But those people that worked for us don’t believed that we have not been paid. So, you can see how the system is frustrating good people who want to help the system.

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